World Bulletin / News Desk
An Iraqi Turkmen federation called on Turkey on Thursday to take action to protect Turkmen, who are caught in the conflict between the ISIL - Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - and Iraq's Kurdish Peshmerga forces in the violence-hit northern Iraqi cities.
"Turkey should not just provide food aid to Turkmen. We expect them seriously to take a step to [protect Turkmen]," told Kemal Beyatli, chairman of the Federation of the Turkmeneli Associations, which is the umbrella organization of the associations in Turkey and which represent the Iraqi Turkmen people.
The three million-strong Turkmen represent the third-largest ethnic group in Iraq, constituting 13 percent of the population.
Stating that the situation was very bad in some regions like Kirkuk, Mosul, Tal Afar and Tuzhurmatu, Beyatli said that Turkey's support would strengthen them but "just making statements were not enough."
"If you do not defend Kirkuk today, you have difficulty defending Ankara tomorrow."
Over 300 thousand Turkmen have been displaced so far during the fighting in the country. Some of them fled to Turkey.
Ahmed Nadir Yusuf was among them. He came to Istanbul from the northwestern Iraqi city of Tal Afar together with his family and is staying now at the office of the Federation of the Turkmeneli Associations temporarily.
He said that the situation was bad at his home. "No one has remained in Tal Afar. People ran away from the city. Helicopters were conducting attacks over there. If the situation remains like that, we cannot return back to our country."
Turkey's official cooperation and disaster management agency recently has sent food packages for 3,000 families in the town of Tel Keppe and 1,150 food packages to Turkmen families in the city of Kirkuk. Six Turkish officials sent by foreign ministry are there to coordinate Turkey's humanitarian aid efforts in Irbil.
On June 10, ISIL rebels, backed by tribal fighters, seized Iraq's second-largest city Mosul and have captured a number of other cities in the north including Tikrit and Tal Afar. They also reportedly control Al Qaim, Rawah, Anah, Al Ratba and Haditha in the western province of Al-Anbar.
ISIL forces also extended their grip along Iraq’s Syrian and Jordanian border on Monday after taking control of border crossings, according to local sources.Last Mod: 26 Haziran 2014, 17:18